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Book Review: Crossing the Chasm, Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers


The author's emphasis is on distinguishing between the selling and marketing tactics for the early innovators versus the mainstream customers. There is a chasm between the innovators and mainstream market and the author dedicates the book outlining the various steps a high tech company should perform to successfully navigate through the chasm.

Some key points and lessons learned:

- It is important to maintain momentum in order to create a bandwagon effect that makes it natural for the next group to want to buy in.

- Early adopters want a change agent while the early majority looks for productivity improvement for existing  operations - they want an evolution not revolution.

- Vapor vare should be avoided during chasm crossing - Vapor vare is pre-announcing and pre-marketing a product which still requires significant development.

- Resistance is a function of inertia growing out of the commitment to the status quo, fear of risk or lack of compelling reason to buy.

- Crossing the chasm requires moving from an environment of support among visionaries back into one of skepticism among pragmatists. It means that moving from product related issues to unfamiliar ground of  market oriented issues AND moving from the familiar audience of like minded specialist to uninterested generalist.

-It is the market centric value system - supplemented ( but not superseded ) by the product centric  - One that must be the basis for the value profile of the target customers when crossing the chasm. 

-Elevator Speech Template
1. For (target customers - beachhead segment only)
2. Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative)
3. Our product is a (new product category)
4. Unlike (the product alternative)
5. We have assembled  (key whole product features for your specific applications)

- Why is elevator speech important ?
1. Your claim cannot be transmitted by word of mouth consistently.
2. Marketing communications will be all over the map.
3. R&D will be all over the map.
4. You are not likely to get financing from anybody with experience.   

- The product alternative in your elevator speech helps customers understand your technology leverage (what you have in common) and your  niche commitment (where you differentiate). Market alternative helps people identify your target customers (what you have in common) and your compelling reason to buy (where  you differentiate).

- Positioning: Goal should be to make products easier to buy not easier to sell. The four stages in positioning:
1. Name it and frame it -  Positioning needed to make a product easy to buy for a technology enthusiast.
2. Who for and what for - Positioning needed to make the product easy to buy from the visionary.
3. Competition and differentiation - Positioning needed to make the product easy to buy for the pragmatist.  
4. Financials and future plans - Positioning needed to make the product easy to buy for the conservative.

- During the chasm period, the number one concern of pricing is not to satisfy the customer or the investor, but to motivate the channel.

- When crossing the chasm we are looking to attract customer oriented distribution by using distribution oriented pricing. There are two types of pricing strategies: value based and cost based. The value based strategy is based on the final big value the client will realize using the product while the cost based is dependent upon the cost incurred to deliver the product.

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